Sydney Kushak

It seems so strange that after four crazy years, high school is now behind us. It’s time to leave that chapter in life behind and focus on the next one. Never would I ever imagined that I’d create all these memories when I stepped foot into Central Woodlands seven years ago after first moving here. With so many people to thank, and so many amazing moments to look back on, I don’t even know where to start talking about my time as a Ranger.

In my four years, I was lucky enough to be a part of three different sports. Although my years on the ski team didn’t last long, it was still a great experience that I’m glad I was a part of. Then there were my four years on the swim team, where I became immersed into a family of girls like no other. Making some of my best friends while getting to know so many amazing and welcoming girls was way more rewarding than the actual sport itself. Also, having immense support from the girls while recovering from my first shoulder surgery was another reason to love the team. Then came my favorite sport, water polo, although it came with a bittersweet ending. Not being able to play junior year due to COVID was hard enough, but having to sit out of my senior season because of yet another shoulder surgery was pretty devastating. Luckily for me, I have the best support system out there.

Over the past year especially, I had the opportunity to immerse myself with a group of girls that make me laugh like no other. Although we didn’t get to do many senior things this year, getting to go to football and basketball games, senior sunrises, spring break, prom, and everything else together has already made this year without a doubt the best year of high school, despite the circumstances. Even though this year was completely different with covid, we tried to look on the bright side, looking forward to what we did get to do instead of everything we didn’t. I can’t even imagine what senior year would have looked like without these girls by my side.

Although I had several friends to thank for an amazing high school experience, many teachers made my years here unforgettable as well. Having spent the past four years in Mr. Manders classroom is something I am forever grateful I got to do. Having FX first hour was always the best way to start my day, and honestly, I’m not sure how I’m going to start my days without it next year. I just want to thank Manders for everything he has taught me and all the memories I made in his room. I also want to thank Mrs. Penninga and Mr. Labenz for being two of my biggest supporters throughout these past few years. I don’t know what I would have done without them and their classes.

Now, what I can easily say has been the highlight of my senior year, the sports report class. After hearing Zoe talk about it for so many years, I decided why not do something fun for my last year of high school, and I am ever so grateful I did. The class environment was the best part, although the group chat was a close second. This group wouldn’t be complete without everyone, which is why I have everyone to thank. Starting with the sophomores, Owen, Levi, and TT, thank you guys for putting up with Zoe and me and making us laugh like no other. Hopefully, you guys can keep up the energy without us next year. As for the juniors, I barely knew any of these guys going into this class. Hop, having FX and sports report with you were so fun, and I hope you keep up the good work in the podcast room. Joe, thanks for always being someone I can joke around with and for sitting with me at basketball games. Pierson, thanks for letting me give you the greatest nickname ever. Keep it up, Gorpy. Tate, thank you for buying the class doughnuts and for all your hard work being a new editor. Mac, thanks for playing music in class and for the lecture you gave to the class. And Thomas, I will definitely miss our group sports report pictures. I know you will be a great editor next year. Now for the seniors, regardless of how close we were at the start of the year, I can easily say I have grown a stronger connection with all of them. Cam, we were definitely a lot closer in middle school, but I’m glad we got the chance to become close again as this year came to an end. Gwen, I’m so glad that I had someone sane to talk to during class all of those days, and I’m so glad we became close this year. Mason, although you have lived down the street from me the past seven years, I feel like I never really got to know the real you until this year. Jacob, thanks for being the class babysitter and for helping with photo galleries. Matthew, thanks for being a great role model to not only me but everyone else in the class. You really put your all into this class, and it shows.

Then, of course, my final two. First, Mr. George, who I don’t know how I would have survived high school without. From not even knowing him my freshman year to being someone that checks in with me daily, I am so thankful for him for so many reasons. Finally, I am most thankful for my freshman bio class for bringing me one of my best friends: Zoe Lipke. I’m not sure how I would have survived high school without you. From bio to APUSH, to calc and sports report, you’ve been there with me through it all. You brought my favorite class to me. Spending this past year with you has been amazing, and I’m so excited to see all that you accomplish next year.

There’s so much more I could say, but I’ll end it at this: High school is what you make of it, and I’m glad I made the most of it. Thank you, FHC.

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